For more in-depth reading suggestions visit the Gnostic Society Bookstore—you will find offered there a selection
of the best introductory and advanced books on Gnosticism, along with
brief reviews of recommended books. And of course just "surfing" The Gnosis Archive will lead to a wealth of information. Blessings on your journey!
Visit the Gnostic Society Library, a
comprehensive library of Gnostic scriptures—including the Nag Hammadi library of Gnostic texts and other ancient writings and documents relating to Gnostic tradition.
Since 1995 the Gnostic Society Library has been the principal
internet resource on Gnosticism and Gnostic traditions.
The Lost Gospels—a ninety minute long BBC documentary (first released in 2008). This is an entertaining and educational— even if somewhat superficial—introduction to the Gnostic Gospels; it is both well researched and nicely produced, with extensive location filming in Egypt. The story centers on the personal quest of Anglican priest Pete Owen Jones to understand the many ancient Christian texts that didn't make it into the New Testament. The focus is principally on the Gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi.
In addition, we have recently added a link to another fine UK documentary available now on YouTube, titled Gnostics, produced by Border TV and first broadcast 1987.
Nag Hammadi Library collection updated:
The Nag Hammadi Library collection received a major update in May 2015. Several prominent scholars have contributed editions of their authoritative translations to our library collection. Over twenty of these new translations have now been added to the online collection. We are especially grateful for the assistance and contributions of Dr. Willis Barnstone, Dr. John Turner, Dr. Stevan Davies, and the late Dr. Marvin Meyer. This resource in the Gnostic Society library receives a few million unique visits each year and is referenced by many academic courses which survey the Gnostic tradition, as well as by readers from all over the world. In supplement to the above work, the Gospel of Thomas Collection has been expanded and updated.
Tolkien, Jung and the Hermeneutics of Vision – A Lecture by Dr. Lance Owens
Beginning in the years around the First World War, two extraordinary men were called to take an exceedingly difficult journey of exploration. It was a voyage of discovery, a passage into the world of imagination. For the rest of their lives both men – J. R. R. Tolkien and C. G. Jung – affirmed that their mythopoetic fantasies had led them to something intrinsically real. The figures they encountered in vision spoke with autonomous voices, and the tales they told were entwined with history and human destiny at the perilous threshold of a new age.
Jung and Tolkien each struggled in solitude with the hermeneutic challenge of recording their experiences. How does one recount in word and image the tale of a venture into vision? And how does one then interpret this record of an imaginal fact?
In this lecture delivered at the California Institute of Integral studies, Dr. Owens examines the private accounts that both Jung and Tolkien scribed about their imaginative experiences – personal writings that remained mostly hidden for several decades after their deaths. What did they "think" they were doing? How did they understand “vision”? What was their “hermeneutics of vision?” And what interpretive approach will we now take to the strange tales of wayfarers who wander in the imaginal world? (Click here for additional information on this lecture, and Dr. Owens' lecture series on Tolkien.)
Recent Recommendations from the Bookstore
Gospels of Jesus, edited by Marvin Meyer.
This is our top
recommendation for readers beginning their exploration of the Gnostic
scriptures. Over the last three decades Prof. Meyer has distinguished
himself as a singularly talented translator and commentator on Gnostic
traditions. In this newcollection—the best of several that he has now published—Meyer presents twelve key Gnostic "gospels" in
succinct, accurate and highly readable new translations. The book's
subtitle claims it to be: "The definitive collection of mystical gospels
and secret books about Jesus of Nazareth." Though perhaps not
"definitive", we agree this is the best introductory
Meyer states his goal in these translations is to be "as accurate as
possible" while still presenting the texts in "felicitous English." At
this he succeeds beautifully. Readers who have labored with the sometimes
tortured translations and editorial conventions presented in the original
editions of the Nag Hammadi Library published thirty years ago will
be amazed at the graceful intelligibility of Meyer's translations. Meyer
adds to the collection an overview of our evolving understanding of
Christian Gnosticism, and prefaces each of the selected text with an
excellent introductory essay.Get the book
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is one the most surprising
and delightful of the rediscovered Gnostic texts.
This excellent new print
edition of the Gospel of Mary of Magdala by the widely respected scholar
Karen King is the best authoritative edition available. It
incorporates translations of the ancient Coptic Gospel of Mary discovered in 1896, along with the two small third-century Greek fragments of the text found at
Oxyrhynchus. Included is a superb introduction along with
extensive commentary on the text and its implications for modern
understandings of early Christianity. Highly Recommended. Visit the Gnostic Society Bookstore for
more information. Also visit our Gospel of Mary Magdalene page, where we have more information on the Gospel of Mary and a preview excerpt from Dr. King's introduction to her book.
Nag Hammadi Scriptures edited by Marvin Meyer, introduction by
The epochal new edition of the entire
Nag Hammadi library has finally arrived! Dr. Marvin Meyer has done a
masterful job in producing a volume that will serve for many decades as
the standard source. Scholarly understanding of the Gnostic texts found at
Nag Hammadi has vastly matured since their original publication as the Nag Hammadi Library in 1977. This new edition fully reflects
that refinement in "the scholarly ear" for both the forgotten ancient
tongue and the spiritual tradition preserved in the Gnostic Coptic texts.
In every possible way, publication of The Nag Hammadi Scriptures represents a milestone in modern understanding of Gnostic tradition.
Elaine Pagels, the author and professor who introduced a generation of
readers to the Gnostic Gospels, appropriately pens the introduction to
this landmark edition. Every student of Gnosticism will want to own
this book, but before jumping into the big volume, we still highly
recommend a study of some of the briefer introductory readings listed in
the Bookstore. Get the book
Visions, Prophecy, And Politics In The Book Of Revelation by Elaine H. Pagels.
Dr. Pagels gives us another fine study of early Christianity, focusing on the most controversial New Testament text, the Book of Revelation. In her critique of the Book of Revelation, she opens a discussion of the other revelatory texts, the Gnostic texts, that were excluded from the Christian canon. Dr. Pagels looks at the sociology and politics and dogmatics of the age, but it is her discussion of the message of the many alternative Christian texts - the Gnostic texts - that we find most valuable. Listen to the interview with Dr. Pagels on NPR for a fine discussion of what Dr. Pagels was trying to explore in her new work. Get the book
Jung in Love: The Mysterium in Liber Novusby Lance S. Owens
Love was the great mystery in C. G. Jung's life. His confrontation with love for a woman and a feminine soul animated the composition of Jung's great Red Book, the book he formally titled Liber Novus.
C. G. Jung's relationships with women during these central years of life have generated several commentaries and critiques. But the power and depth of love has figured little in most of the romances about this period patched together by biographers, dramatists, and psychoanalysts. In consequence, a crux experience of Jung's life has been miscast and little understood.
Three decades after the events chronicled in his Red Book, C. G. Jung turned to writing a commentary on the still hidden records. In Jung in Love, Lance Owens illustrates how Jung's four last books—his "last quartet" of major works published after 1945—are summary statements about his experiences during the years he labored with Liber Novus.
Owens illustrates how in the first volume of this "last quartet"—The Psychology of the Transference, published in 1946—Jung employed a sixteenth-century alchemical text to provide context for what is in fact a statement about his own experience with love recounted both in his private journals and in Liber Novus.
Based on long-sequestered documentary sources, Jung in Love offers a balanced and historically contextualized account of Jung's relationships with four women during the years that led him into the visionary experiences recorded in the Red Book: Emma Jung-Rauschenbach, Sabina Spielrein, Maria Moltzer and Toni Wolff.
Jung in Love - The Mysterium in Liber Novus was originally published as a chapter in Das Rote Buch – C. G. Jungs Reise zum anderen Pol der Welt, ed. Thomas Arzt (Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, 2015). The book is available at amazon.co.uk and amazon.de
The Search for Roots: C. G. Jung and the Tradition of Gnosis
by Alfred Ribi, Foreword by Lance S. Owens
The publication in 2009 of C. G. Jung's The Red Book: Liber Novus has initiated a broad reassessment of Jung’s place in cultural history. Among many revelations, the visionary events recorded in the Red Book reveal the foundation of Jung’s complex association with the Western tradition of Gnosis.
In The Search for Roots, Alfred Ribi closely examines Jung’s life-long association with Gnostic tradition. Alfred Ribi is unique in the Jungian analytical community for the careful scholarship and intellectual rigor he has brought to the study Gnosticism. In The Search for Roots, Ribi shows how a dialogue between Jungian and Gnostic studies can open new perspectives on the experiential nature of Gnosis, both ancient and modern. Creative engagement with Gnostic tradition broadens the imaginative scope of modern depth psychology and adds an essential context for understanding the voice of the soul emerging in our modern age. Alfred Ribi's examination of Jung’s relationship with Gnostic tradition comes at an important time. Initially authored prior to the publication of Jung's Red Book, current release of this English edition offers a bridge between the past and the forthcoming understanding of Jung’s Gnostic roots.
A Foreword by Lance Owens supplements this volume with a discussion of Jung's encounter with Gnostic tradition while composing his Red Book (Liber Novus). Dr. Owens delivers a fascinating and historically well-documented account of how Gnostic mythology entered into Jung's personal mythology in the Red Book. Gnostic mythology thereafter became for Jung a prototypical image of his individuation. For a preview of the book, download the complete Foreword by Lance Owens in pdf format.
C. G Jung's Red Book: Liber Novus - Vision, Psychology and Gnosis
This is the book many of us have awaited for decades, and its importance cannot be overstated.
During WWI, Jung entered an extended visionary experience that he called his “confrontation with the unconscious.” Based on these visions, he subsequently developed his principal theories of the collective unconscious, the archetypes, psychological types and the process of individuation. Jung focused on transforming psychotherapy from a practice concerned with the treatment of pathology into a means for reconnection with the soul and the recovery of meaning in life. At the heart of this endeavor was his legendary Red Book, a large, leather bound, illuminated volume that he created between 1914 and 1930, which contained the substance of his visions and became the nucleus of his later works. While Jung considered the Red Book, or Liber Novus (" The New Book") to be the central work in his oeuvre, it has remained unpublished till this day, and unavailable for study and unseen by the public at large.
The Red Book is best described as a visionary and prophetic work, and not simply as an imaginative literary or scientific document. It is possibly the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. Its publication is a watershed that inaugurates a new era in the understanding of Jung’s life and work; it fully reveals the experiential, Gnostic roots of Jung's psychology. As Jung stated:
"The years … when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life.... Everything later was merely the outer classification,the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.”
Over a hundred-thousand copies have were sold in the first two years after publication. It is available at Amazon.com at a reasonable price. Buy the Book
The Red Book: Reader's Edition - No Illustrations
In December 2012 the "Reader's Edition" of The Red Book was released - and this edition does NOT contain any of the facsimile images of the original book. There is none of the artwork here, just Jung's translated text, along with Dr. Shamdasani's introduction and notes. So, why purchase a "Reader's Edition"? Because the text of Liber Novus (as Jung formally titled his "Red Book") is really more important than the art. And the size of the facsimile edition makes it physically very difficult to hold in hand and read. See our full review for more information. If you are ready to read Liber Novus, this is the edition to use. But of course, you will want the big book with the images, too!
C. G. Jung: The Red Book, Gnosis and the Gnostic Traditions
With publication of the Red Book, irrefutable evidence is presented of Jung's deep relationship to the visionary and experiential tradition of Gnosis. Throughout his life, Jung publicly and privately affirmed his affinity to Gnostic tradition. We consider it quite possible that future generations will understand Jung as a seminal, prophetic figure heralding a new Sophianic age and a resurgent understanding the timeless traditions of the Gnosis.
Gnosis is not a "dead ancient philosophy", but instead a lived and living fact of human experience with ancient roots and a transformative potential for the future development of human consciousness. Jung provides signal evidence of this fact.
Recently Added -- Photographs of Jung's "Gnostic Ring" – From the late-1920s until the end of his life, C. G. Jung wore on his left hand a ring with a large engraved gem stone with a coiled serpent. This was commonly referred to as Jung's "Gnostic ring." When he acquired the stone and had it mounted into a ring is not clear. However, most photos taken after 1930 show the ring on Jung's hand. Two rare photographs of the ring, front and back, are included.See Jung's Gnostic Ring.
The popular PBS television special "Genesis: A Living Conversation",
hosted by Bill Moyers, directed wide attention to the many interpretations
of the Book of Genesis. One of the vital readings of Genesis -- the
Gnostic reading -- was, however, completely ignored. Explore this
balancing perspective in The Genesis Factor, an
essay by Dr. Stephan Hoeller.
Lectures from the Gnostic Society
As of June of 2012, weekly lecture delivered by Dr. Hoeller are available here free in mp3 format. The current series of June is addressing "Four Great Essays of C.G. Jung." From Jung's shorter writings, Dr. Hoeller has selected four very significant titles which merit consideration at this time. The material will be evaluated in the light of insights from Jung's Red Book and related sources. Visit
our Web Lecture page for more information.
For over twenty-five years Bryan Campbell (a professional Hollywood
recording engineer) has been archiving recordings of Dr. Hoeller's weekly
lectures. A huge selection from this collection is now available by
for immediate online download and for shipping in CD albums.
Free Lectures (available at BC Recordings):
Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing Dr. Hoeller introduces the subject of his latest book of the same
title. An excellent brief introduction to the Gnostic Tradition. (This
lecture introduces not only our 10-lecture album "The Wisdom of the
Gnostics", but all of our recordings on Gnosticism by Stephan A.
Hoeller) Running Time 47:25.
The Greatest Treasures of Nag Hammadi "Thomas and Philip: Gospels of the Gnostic Christ" is a free,
full-length presentation introducing the ten part set of lectures on the
most popular and valued writings from the Nag Hammadi Library, the
Gnostic writings found in Egypt in 1945.
Running Time 79:52.
Introduction to The Gospel of Judas Dr. Hoeller regards "The Gospel of Judas" as an important and very
Gnostic document, and gives his preliminary evaluation in this brief
talk. A series in four parts on the "Gospel of Judas" was delivered
Summer 2006, and is available in disk and in download formats. Running
Altered States Ancient and Modern Aids to consciousness have so much history it takes 13 titles in
this set to cover this controversial subject. This brief lecture lays a
foundation for a Gnostic understanding of this topic. Running Time
Tolkien and "The Lord of the Rings" Gnosis and Creativity merged in this great work by J.R.R. Tolkien. A
7 part set on it is introduced by this brief presentation.
Running Time 74:04.
Battle about God: Where do Gnostics stand? Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great" and Richard Dawkins' "The
God Delusion", Mother Theresa's Doubts and the timeless Gnostic answers
to the issues they raise in this full-length presentation. Running time
We also offer several lecture series presented Dr. Lance
J.R.R. Tolkien: An Imaginative Life. This series of the three lectures examines the broad span of Tolkien's life and work, with special focus on Tolkien’s experience of his imaginative gift. The lectures are available on line in illustrated format, or for download as mp3 audio files.
C.G. Jung and the Red Book. Two series of lectures (sixteen lectures in total) by Dr. Lance Owens that discuss the creative genesis and content of the Red Book, and explain its central place in the life and work of C. G. Jung. C.G. Jung and the Tradition of Gnosis, a series of lecture delivered in Zurich by Dr. Owens, is also now available.
Search the Gnosis Archive
You can search the entire Gnosis Archive for keywords, scriptural phrases, and subjects using our advanced search
functions. The Archive contains well over
a thousand documents specific to Gnostic studies, including
translations all the classical Gnostic scriptures and patristic documents
relevant to early Gnostic movements. The search function on the
Archive is a major resource for students and researchers.
Gnostic Studies on the Web
This section contains a wide selection of current Sites and Documents dealing with Gnosticism, ancient and modern,
available on the Web.
A selection of thoughts and writings from the
Ecclesia Gnostica, as well as a schedule of services for the parishes in
Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.
Note that we are now providing free many of the weekly lectures given by Dr. Stephan Hoeller at the Gnostic Society in Los Angeles in mp3 audio. All of the other weekly lecture are available for purchase. Visit
our Web Lecture page for more information.